SLLLG: Scottish law library leaders group?

The SLLG Twitter account, @scotlawlibs, regularly posts items it finds on the reasons law information professionals bring value to those using information services. Yesterday it posted 3 links to articles from “library twitter” based around the idea of management, leadership and self-care in the workplace. SLLG members might find these of interest.

Remy Maisel writes in What Management Skills Do You Need to Run A Library? that, like all professional occupations, a Librarian is expected to accomplish some tasks recognisable in management roles. This is despite evidence suggesting few enter the Library sector to be managers.

The article states every successful information professional has good communication skills. These skills are also the main basis for much of everyday successful library management.

Some argue that communication skills and the ability to delegate are more important characteristics for a manager to possess than experience, though experience is beneficial.

The article continues with highlighting  management aspects such as planning, organising and directing, and service promotion stemming from the initial skills associated with communication.

The article suggests focussed networking is key in benefiting both the individual and the service.

Steven Bell takes a rather counterintuitive tact in his What Not To Do: Tips for New Library Leaders, for those just starting out with leadership responsibilities. Here, Bell suggests that there are expectations attached to leadership. Bell states that mistakes offer valuable lessons.

It certainly helps to learn what to do to get it right. New leaders also benefit from learning basic mistakes they need to avoid, but they hear about the latter less than needed.

He expands in his article on what he considers are what-not-to-dos:

  1. Not “giving up” your old job and still focussing on the service provision you’ve left
  2. Launching initiatives attached to no specific problem
  3. Finding positions for ex-colleagues or friends
  4. Over-promising, under-delivering

He also links and makes reference to more “not-to-dos”.

It’s not all negatives though, and Bell provides some constructive tips. These include communication with stake-holders, becoming aware of the wider institution and networking with fellow library leaders. This final point, he says, can help alleviate some of the stress of leadership.

I learned that most of my peers had similar issues, concerns, and stressors. I came away feeling more confident that I could do this job.

Steven Bell has written on the subject of leadership in libraries from different angles in a few posts, which members may find of interest.

A far more general article on stress in the workplace was linked to by SLA New England. How to Recognize Burnout before You’re Burned Out by Kenneth R. Rosen, in the New York Times. Stress and tension is something which affects all jobs, including law librarianship.

Rosen identifies some “common work stressors” such as unrealistic deadlines, changes to processes, added responsibility beyond initial scope of role (when leadership is an unwanted by-product)

…we are not meant to be in that high-stress mode all the time. We got lost in this idea that the only way to be productive is to be on the go-go-go mode.

Rosen then offers some ideas to “combat burnout at work” including taking time off, making the workspace more comfortable, having a hobby or activity to look forward to outside work, and finding someone trusted to talk through the stressors and perhaps agree possible resolutions.

So, again, communication and networking. Communicating as our skill, and networking as we do in the SLLG.

Whether any article has its flaws, or is far from the definitive word on what is Library Leadership, is up for debate. And that’s good because it furthers the subject for us in considering ourselves as leaders or potential leaders in our roles. Stimulating deeper readings and thoughts in this area is a positive to understanding when we are leaders and when we wish to take a step back from leadership.

Although, they or other studies can’t hope to explain why good library leadership is sometimes simply sticking a blow-up dinosaur in the library.

Inflatable T-Rex

What do you think are leadership facets we see in law librarianship? Are we all leaders to some extent? Do we want to be viewed as leaders? Feel free to add to the comments box below.

Advertisements

Law Librarians Explained, a Law School Toolbox blog post

Link: Law Librarians Explained: Everything a 1L Should Know 

Although the context is for American law students, this is a good little introductory blog about law librarians.

Respect your law librarian—they are not just there to reshelf your books

John Passmore’s post includes quotable lines which are worth taking away for any of us explaining our law information service.

….don’t doubt a law librarian’s ability to dig just a little deeper and search just a little more precisely than you can

Even if it might have mentioned loose-leaf updating a bit more, it’s only an introduction to all the amazing stuff we do, after all, so I suppose not everything could fit in it.

Having a highly educated and experienced legal information professional in your corner is huge

If anyone has a comment on the Toolbox blog post or has one (or more!) blog posts they’d also like to share with the group, please let us know.

Some resources on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union

Here are some links to resources which might be of use to those interested in the processes, administrative and policy details of the UK no longer being a member of the EU.

Official Papers UK:
BREXIT, BREXIT, BREXIT! A non-exhaustive collection of online resources and source information dealing with the UK leaving the EU.

Scottish Parliament Information Centre:
UK decision to leave the European Union Hub. Impartially selected materials for those seeking information of the on-going progress of the UK leaving the EU.

House of Commons Briefing Papers:
Legislating for BREXIT: EU directives. A paper detailing (and linking to) all EU directives implemented in UK legislation as of 5th April 2017.

Inner Temple Library:
A history of the EU. An interactive timeline of the EU with accessible relevant source documents.

~

Many thanks to SWOP and our members, Sharron and Andrea, for highlighting these sources to us.

 

Scottish Court of Session Papers: digitisation pilot

The University of Edinburgh’s Digital Imaging Unit has undertaken a pilot project to digitise the collection of Scottish Court of Session Papers held across The Advocates Library, The Signet Library and The University of Edinburgh.

Comprising some 6,500 volumes, the collection spans 300 years as well as various sizes, condition and the occasional surprise thrown in. The pilot project has taken an evaluative sample of these volumes to establish the best methods to resolve potential difficulties a larger project will encounter.

To find out more about this project, and see photographs detailing a few of the challenges ahead for the Unit, please read this excellent blog post by the Unit:

Scottish Court of Session Papers: Digitisation Pilot (March 3rd, 2017)

Our group will certainly be following with great excitement in how the project progresses.

For a little more information about Session Papers:

Session Papers are documents used in the presentation of cases in the Court of Session, Scotland’s supreme civil court. They are the written pleadings of contested cases, plus associated documents… The papers often include non-legal documentary exhibits such as drawings, plans and maps.

(Advocates Library, Session Papers Collections)

Session papers are of great interest and use to law practitioners, law academics and researchers as well historians and sociologists. The collection has been referred by the Historiographer Royal in Scotland as “the most valuable unstudied source for Scottish history … in existence” (Faculty of Advocates, Session papers collections).